The first time I picked up a copy of Grit was, oh, more years ago than I care to admit. My family was visiting some young city cousins at the time, and the folksiness of Grit seemed a bit out of place in their parents’ urban living room. My brothers and I were also a bit out of place, having just spent a couple of days butchering 100 chickens with our grandparents. The smell of poultry fat and scalded feathers still clung to our hands, and our boots almost certainly shed some manure on the pristine door mat.
I come from a long line of farmers, going back many years and crossing international borders. Country life was all my family knew for generations. To my brothers and me, though, it meant near-constant work as kids. Like every other child, we just wanted to goof off. Instead, we had to get up in the dark to bottle-feed calves; pick, snap, and can green beans; and stack hay bales in a sweltering barn. Meanwhile, our city cousins swam in chlorinated pools and watched pay-per-view television. And yet, our cousins knew which lifestyle was best, because all they and their parents talked about was the day the family could move to a farm of their own. The pages of Grit fed their dream of country living. They read it from cover to cover, and talked of and planned for the property they’d settle on one day. Eventually, they bought a small homestead along the Smoky Hill River in Kansas — and their Grit subscription moved with them.
Today, I understand how lucky I am to have grown up on a farm. I have personal experience with so much of the content you love, everything from cleaning catfish to baking bread. I plan to bring those down-home experiences and my country work ethic to the pages of this magazine.
Let me know any stories you have of growing up on a farm, or of how you scrimped, saved, and dreamt of the day you’d move to your own piece of real estate in the country. You can share them with me at Rmartin@Grit.com.